Finding the best bouldering shoes for wide feet can be a bit of a struggle especially because climbing shoes already fit pretty snug. Fortunately there are options that a climber with wide feet can take advantage of that will not sacrifice too much performance for comfort.
The features that make a performance bouldering shoe are an aggressive downturn, and high sensitivity with soft grippy rubber. For wide feet, these features along with an asymmetric last and a stretchable upper will provide the most comfort without sacrificing performance.
Climbing shoes designed for women tend to be narrower, for wider feet men’s shoes will be the best option. Most companies are now releasing high and low volume options for climbing shoes which is taking the place of gender assignments. Since we are in the gray area of this transition, if you are a climber with wide feet it is best to try out men’s or high volume options for climbing shoes.
Most of high end bouldering shoes are aggressively asymmetric for the fact that they generate power better to a single point. Climbers with wide feet tend to have high foot arches which works to their benefit because an asymmetric shoe will fit better.
Sensitive shoes preform best at bouldering because they allow precise foot placement. Although it won’t be as durable, soft and thin rubber will better preform for locking into textures and stretching to fit wide feet. Soft rubber will also better relieve the pressure from knuckle hotspots, because the shoe will have more give.
The next best feature to look for in a shoe for wide feet is a stretchable upper, especially one that will stretch laterally for foot width. Shoes with natural leather uppers will best adjust to your foot over time and stretch to provide comfort and even relax hotspots in the shoe.
Wide Bouldering Shoe Recommendations
Although these performance shoes will not be comfortable enough to keep on all day, they will preform best for wide feet because they will anatomically fit a wide foot better.
Five Ten Hiangle
- 4.2mm Stealth C4 rubber outsole
- Unlined Leather Upper
- Mens Sizes: 5-13 US
- Price: $165
Five Ten claims the Hiangle to be a great introduction into aggressive climbing shoes because they break-in to be very comfortable. This is because the unlined leather upper stretches half to a full size up to really provide a fit that is formed around your foot. Five Ten employees have recommended to go half a size down from street shoe size to accommodate the stretch.
The Hiangle is a supportive aggressive shoe because it has thermoplastic midsole and 4.2mm thick outsole rubber. This makes for a stiffer aggressive shoe which is great for edging on overhanging terrain. Although it is mentioned to be stiff, it is still a soft alternative to other aggressive shoes like the La Sportiva Miura VS, or the Scarpa Instinct.
A gripe about the Hiangle is that the leather dye used to stain your feet bright blue. Although stained feet were looked upon as cool battle scars in the climbing community, it could get annoying to keep explaining to people who don’t climb why your feet were blue. The 2016 Hiangle was the last blue Smurf batch, the new 2017 models have addressed the issue by using a more discreet grey dye for the leather upper.
It may be one of the most underrated climbing shoes, but even as an “introductory aggressive shoe” the Hiangles are the preferred shoes for many top climbers such as Nathaniel Coleman, Tomoa Narasaki, Nina Williams, Michaela Kiersch, Janja Garnbret, and the list goes on.
La Sportiva Speedster
- 3mm Vibram XS Grip2 rubber outsole
- Suede Leather and Micro Fiber Upper
- No-Edge Technology
- Sizes: 32-45 EU
- Price: $154
The Speedster is the most sensitive climbing shoe in the La Sportiva line. It is a slip-on that features No-Edge technology which wraps the outsole rubber over the rand, creating a rounded edge at the tip of the shoe. This creates a more sensitive toe because there is less rubber between your foot and the rock, which allows for better directing the pressure applied to foot holds.
Even though the rubber is soft and thin, it lasts exceptionally well because the No-Edge uses more surface area than a traditional edged shoe. Also, it avoids the typical splitting of the rubber than can happen between the outsole and the rand. This is because the outsole continues over the seam where it would meet the rand, making one piece of rubber for surface contact. The extended outsole rubber also provides extra toe protection for toe hooks or awkward smears.
Since the shoe features a partial suede leather upper it will stretch according to your foot shape. In addition, the soft and thin rubber on the Speedster is extremely flexible but fits tight to eliminate dead space in the shoe.
Despite the shoe being a slip-on, the Speedster is known to have a secure and tight fitting heel. The combined features of the Speedster make it a tight fitting flexible shoe that will very well smear overhanging chips and edges.
- Neo Friction Fuse rubber outsole
- Leather/Synthetic upper
- Lots of toe rubber protection
- Mens Sizes: 3-14 US
- Price: $154
The Butora Acro is one of the most comfortable aggressive shoes because it has a wide toe box that is designed to stretch even wider. Also the velcro strap can be fastened higher or lower on the shoe to better customize the fit. It is notorious for being difficult to get on, but is a comfortable enough shoe to wear for multiple bouldering attempts.
The soft rubber is balanced to offer all-around performance edging and smearing. Butora is the only climbing shoe manufacturer using full ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) midsole which is known for great impact strength, abrasion resistance, and stability. This midsole makes it more supportive, durable and preserves its downturned shape over time.
Toe rubber on the Acro practically covers the whole upper which makes it comfortable for toe hook and bicycle moves, while also preventing the leather upper from stretching length wise.
This shoe is especially a good shoe for climbers with wide feet that have lower arches because it has a shallow heel. Many climbers that have problems with a baggy heel on climbing shoes like the La Sportiva Solutions fair better with the Acro.